Sector News

Chili-shaped portable smartphone device easily identifies pepper’s heat level

October 24, 2020
Food & Drink

Researchers have developed a portable device that detects how much capsaicin a pepper contains with the help of a smartphone. Thailand-based researcher Warakorn Limbut and colleagues developed the device as a simple, accurate and cheap method to quantify the capsaicin content of chili peppers.

The report, which was published in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials, may help suppliers who use capsaicin as a food additive to more easily quantify the contents within food samples.

In addition to imparting a spicy flavor, the capsaicin in chili peppers has several health benefits, including anti-oxidative, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory activities. The ingredient is therefore well-positioned in the food industry for its nutritional benefits.

Other methods that have been developed for this purpose are complicated, time-consuming or require expensive, bulky instrumentation.

Nanotech yields pocket-sized equipment

The researchers made a portable device shaped like a small chili pepper that could be connected to a smartphone to display the results of the analysis.

The paper-based electrochemical sensor within the device consisted of graphene nanoplatelets doped with nitrogen atoms to improve their electrical conductivity.

When the team added a drop of diluted capsaicin to the sensor, the compound underwent oxidation and reduction reactions, producing an electrical current that the device detected.

After optimizing the sensor, the researchers used it to determine capsaicin concentrations in six dried chili samples. They added the chilies to an ethanol-containing solution, shook it up and then introduced a drop of the sample.

The device accurately measured capsaicin concentrations from 7.5-90 μM in the six samples, and could detect down to 0.37 μM in the diluted samples.

Demand for spicy flavors heats up

Chili flavors have recently heated up the low and no alcohol trend. The tingling sensation caused by the capsaicin provides a sensory experience to those drinking non-alcoholic beverages.

In the better-for-you alcoholic beverages space, Gold Coast Ingredients recently highlighted chili flavors in hard seltzers.

Chili flavors have also held a top position in international flavors, such as in the snacking sector.

Savory snacking spiked this summer as consumers stayed more at home. Global flavors, such as sweet and spicy notes, saw increased interest as consumers “traveled” through snacks.

And this summer, European Free Dry debuted gourmet ingredients including freeze-dried chili marinated shrimp, available as whole pieces or as a flavoring powder for snacks and ready meals.

 

By Missy Green

Source: foodingredientsfirst.com

comments closed

Related News

October 23, 2021

Coca-Cola announces 100% plant-based bottle prototype for commercial testing

Food & Drink

Coca-Cola is unveiling a fully plant-based PET (bPET) bottle prototype, excluding the cap and label. The beverage giant has produced a limited run of 900 bottles, confirming the prototypes are recyclable within existing recycling infrastructures, alongside PET from oil-based sources.

October 23, 2021

McDonald’s and Starbucks increase investment in reusable packaging and fiber-based recyclability

Food & Drink

McDonald’s and Starbucks are committing an additional US$10 million to the NextGen Consortium, an initiative aiming to improve environmental sustainability standards in the foodservice industry. Founded by investment firm Closed Loop Partners, the Consortium is investigating methods of advancing the design, commercialization and recovery of packaging materials.

October 23, 2021

Hortifrut’s US$280M acquisition of Atlantic Blue bolsters European position

Food & Drink

Hortifrut is purchasing Atlantic Blue for US$280 million. Atlantic Blue is a key player in the growing and marketing of berries in Europe and Northern Africa, based in Huelva, Spain. The transaction will allow Hortifrut to expand its growing area by about 20% and consolidate its position as the largest fresh blueberry platform in Europe and the UK.

Send this to a friend